Monday, 23 February 2015

First Car Ride in Months!

Week 13
23rd February 2015

This week has been another hard working week for my companion and I.

Starting from Tuesday, we had exchanges with the Assistants to the President so they could check up and see how my trainer is going. I learned a lot, as I went out and taught lessons, and did some finding. Hard work, but rewarding.

On Wednesday we had our Zone Meeting. The AP's were staying with us so they could go to the Zone Meeting, then go out to Infanta and close the apartment. It was the first time in a long time I have been in a car, not since I left home and WOW it felt so good!!  After the meeting, we went out tracting and visiting.

Thursday was just another regular day - work, work, work. Friday was the same. 

On Saturday we were able to attend a baptismal service for 2 children of record baptisms. Hopefully the next baptism I attend is my own investigator's baptism. 

After that, my companion and I went and did some more visiting, before returning to the chapel so I could play basketball. My companion doesn't play basketball. But he's a good piano player. He sits in the chapel playing hymns while I play basketball. 

Sunday was a normal Sabbath Day, church in the morning, lunch and a sleep, and visits. We went on splits with some members. After that, we caught a jeepney over to Paete to sleep over there, so we could travel together to Siniloan this morning to play some basketball.

My companion is good, he is a whole 13-14 inches shorter than Elder Richards, so I'm still adjusting to the fact I don't need to look up anymore!!!

When we talk, we mix it up with Tagalog and English, so that I can learn Tagalog, and so he can learn English. It just depends what comes out of our mouths first. For me, a lot more Tagalog is starting to coming out of my mouth before English. We taught this one lady and she could speak nearly fluent English, so she said I could teach her in English. I found it harder to teach her in English so I went back to teaching in Tagalog. I'm actually starting to struggle to not write some parts of my e-mail in Tagalog!

Nothing big happening this week, just work, work and work. My companion and I are going to start focusing on having our investigators come to church. At this point we only have one coming - but she is a golden investigator. She is already half-way through 1 Nephi and asks about the scriptures and other stuff. The difficult thing is, because she is only 15, she may not be able to be baptised for another 4-6 months unless her mother comes to church. We will be teaching the importance of Church attendance on our next visit on Tuesday. 

I'm keen for the package, I should get it at Zone Conference next month. San Pablo, Cabuyao, Santa Cruz and Siniloan Zones combine every 3 months for the Zone Conference in San Pablo. Excited to catch up with the boys again.

I actually haven't had a haircut for over 2 months. I might even wait until I go to San Pablo and get my MTC companion to cut my hair. Just depends on how I feel, and how long my hair grows. :) Not very many barbers out here that can cut my hair how I like it. Won't let it grow too long though.

Keep looking after the Elders there, because I'm being well looked after out here in my area.

Can you believe I've been gone for 3 months already? Time is flying by. I also estimated my home date - Either November 2nd or November 3rd, 2016. I'm not being trunky though, I just want to know these things. :)

Monday, 16 February 2015

Transfers... New Companion

Week 12
16th February 2015

On Tuesday and Wednesday Elder Richards and I visited members and investigators so that Elder Richards could say goodbye to them before he moved to his new area. I'll be doing the same when I get transferred  

We had a dinner appointment on Monday night, 3 appointments on Tuesday (!)  and also one Wednesday night. I seriously am gaining weight, it's just not showing too much on the outside.

Thursday I spent the day waiting for my new companion - Elder Santos - to get here. I sent Elder Richards off to Batangas at 8AM Thursday morning, went off to Siniloan to meet the missionaries there who were waiting for their new companions. 

Crazy, there were 14 in our zone, 7 got transferred out and only 5 came back! 

The mission has closed down the Infanta area, which is the most northern area in the mission. From what I've heard, it's crazy isolated out there. 

We now have no sisters in the area either, as there are not enough Sisters in the mission for them to stay there.

My companion got to Siniloan about 5.30PM and we went straight to the apartment. I was tired, so I slept while he unpacked. 

After I woke up and Elder Santos finished unpacking,  we went for a walk around the apartment so he could get familiar with a small part of the area. We walked past a members home and they invited us in and fed us! Four nights in a row of being fed - This week was a great week for sure. :)

So the Paete missionaries - the other missionaries in our branch - can't work because Elder Raymundo has chicken pox. They have to stay in for two weeks, and Elder Fa'asavalu is going insane, and it's only been 4 days! We've been going over there every day to drop off food and stuff because they aren't allowed to leave their apartment until Elder Raymundo is better.

Saturday it rained. I prefer working in the rain, but everywhere gets crazy muddy and the mud always gets on my shoes and pants. So at least once a week, I have to wash my shoes and re-shine them. We met a new investigator too, and he said he would read the Book of Mormon. Seems like a golden investigator right now.

Sunday was the usual... went to church. We did have a "unified home teaching" with some of the Melchezidek Priesthood holders after church, but  Elder Santos and I couldn't go on splits because we had appointments during the afternoon. 

We had one investigator at church, and as much as one is better than none, it would be great if they all came to church. If I could just express myself the way I want to in Tagalog right now, I would be happy. It would be even easier if I could just do it in English! But none of them would understand... which is starting to get to me - not in a bad way, but I just want to tell them the way I feel about the gospel! But hey, all in good time I guess. 

Tomorrow we have companion exchanges with the Assistants to President. I'm keen for them to meet our investigators and hopefully help out with some of them and be able to invite them to attend church.

Sorry no pics this week... will send some next week.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Meetings and Catch Ups

Week 11
9th February 2015

This week was a good week too!

The service project went well ...we did heaps of work but it looked like we had done barely anything by the end of the day!  Got crazy muddy and during break time/lunch we ended up just playing in it! We found heaps of fish in the mud too. We were at that place all day.

On Wednesday, we had a District Meeting. I'll be honest and say that I hadn't shaved for 2 and a 1/2 weeks up to that point. We rocked up to the chapel, as the Zone Leaders were waiting for us. We got there, and I see President and his wife waiting with the Zone Leaders!!!  I look at the Zone Leaders, turn back and look at my companion and cover my face and start laughing my head off. We did have a good meeting though, and I didn't get into any trouble. President just laughed it off with me, and told me to shave for Thursday's meeting in San Pablo. 

Thursday was fun...  it was training check-up for us trainees, to see how we're going. I got to catch up with all my batch. Elder Faka'i, Elder Finau, Elder Nikau, Sister Kivalu, Sister Koi, Sister Purcell and Sister Leung-Wai were all there. We all just had a big laugh with each other, talking about how useless our Tagalog is, amongst other things. We went to the SM afterwards (which is just the mall), and some of us that were eating had a competition to see who could eat the most rice. We paid for unlimited rice, and it's safe to say that all of us ate past the price of our food! My companion and I also bought matching ties at the mall.

On Saturday we returned again to San Pablo to have our special meeting. Almost all of our mission was there, except the island zones (Mindoro and Marinduque) and Lopez zone. They are all over 5 hours travel time to San Pablo, so they were all told to just stay in their area. I met so many missionaries, and it was great! The meeting was good too, we had Elder Ardern who is the Area President of the Philippines, as well as Elder Beck, the General Young Mens President visit with us. I'll get the photos to you next week as I asked one of the other Elders in San Pablo Zone to e-mail them to me.

President called us on Saturday night, and spoke to Elder Richards. He is getting stepped up to be a Zone Leader in Batangas Zone this next transfer, so he will not be my companion as of Thursday 8AM. It has been a great transfer for us, but when the Lord calls, you need to stand up and accept. My new companion's name is Elder Santos, and he's a Philippino. I will meet him on Thursday, whenever he gets to our meeting place, and he will finish off my training. More news about our zone..  two areas have been closed down.

Our investigators are doing well, we had two come to church yesterday. I will keep working with all of our investigators too and invite them to come to church.

For fast food we only have Jollibee in our zone... It's a chicken place a bit like KFC but not as good in my opinion.

Today aside from usual stuff on PDay we were out at Siniloan playing basketball then chilling with the 6 Siniloan missionaries.

Elder Richards and Elder Crichton with their 16 inch hot dogs!

This is the pond we were clearing and how we looked when we started...

This was us by the end of the day!

 Elder Crichton, Elder Fa'asavalu and Elder Caballa ... completely worn out
and asleep in the Jeep on Saturday night on the way home

Siniloan Zone private jeep!

The Paete Elders ( Elder Raymundo and Elder Fa'asavalu) had matching ties, 
 Elder Richards and I had matching ties and pants,
and our Branch Mission Leader and Elders Quorum President had matching bald heads!!

Taking photos with the Paete Elders ( Elder Raymundo and Elder Fa'asavalu) 
with their investigator and his family.

Sunday with a family we had invited to church!

L-R: Elder Raymundo, Elder Fa'asavalu, Elder Richards, Elder Crichton

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Good Week!

Week 10

02 February 2015

This week was a good week!

I'm feeling much better now, I now know to bless my food every single time I eat regardless of what it is!!

After recovering we went on exchanges with some of the other missionaries on Tuesday and Friday. A lot of work was done, we had 2 baptismal dates before the week started, and yesterday we finished with 9!

As a companionship, Elder Richards and I got the best key indicators since we've been together as a companionship. But it's not about the numbers, it's about the people behind the numbers. 

So this last week we had three dinner appointments. We have a less-active family that we visit weekly, and they feed us fried chicken! They now know it's my favourite so that's all they feed us missionaries, with rice of course. :) Our Branch Mission Leader fed us on Saturday night before we opened our fast too. 

The training check-up is not until this Thursday, and the Mission Tour is not until this Saturday. Looking forward to it though, I get to see my batch and catch up with them all. The mission tour should be good too, all of our mission except 3 zones which are over 7 hours travel time away will be there, keen to meet some other missionaries, and of course see my batch again. A lot of work time will be taken out though, with travel time to and from San Pablo, as well as the time spent being in the meetings. We haven't planned any work for those two days in case we get stuck, or decide to hang around for a bit longer and spend time with the other missionaries.

Yesterday we went to Siniloan (the biggest town in our zone) to withdraw our support money for the month. My companion and I  just made it with our monthly support. I had 5 pesos to my name by the time we got to Siniloan. It feels so good to have money now though. :) 

We were supposed to give service today, but the member postponed it until tomorrow. Luckily for us, the appointments I set during the week were only for the night, not during the day. We're cleaning out a members pond of the mud in there so it can be a clean pond!

The language is coming along okay, I can say a fair bit here and there but I have a long ways to go before I nail the language in near fluency. Luckily for me, most of the members and investigators can understand basic English so when I teach and talk to people, I mix Tagalog and English in together. Oh how much easier it would be if I was assigned to an English speaking mission!

We met an Indian man here who speaks fluent Tagalog... he has a strong Indian accent even when speaking Tagalog! 

Got some photos from my companion - only two though. We don't really care for taking photos, just bringing souls unto Christ. :) Personally if I wanted to take photos, I would have gone on a holiday, not come out here to serve the Lord!! :) 

Only 21 months more to go HAHAHAHA.

Dinner at the Branch Mission Leaders home on Saturday.

Doing some washing!